Open Access & Institutional Repositories: at Hunter and in the wild

On 10 April 2012, the World Bank made an announcement declaring a new open access policy for access to WorldBank information and products. This is a tremendous step in increasing a high level of financial and social science information. This decision comes after the decision taken in 2010 to provide access to The World Bank Open Data Catalog. In conjunction with the the decision to move more directly in a direction towards a stronger open access platform The World Bank launched the Open Knowledge Repository. This is an interesting tool for researchers on a variety of reasons. One this repository will, eventually, and collect a huge volume of materials including:

works from 2009-2012 (more than 2,100 books an papers) across a wide range of topics and all regions of the world. This includes the World Development Report, and other annual flagship publications, academic books, practitioner volumes, and the Bank’s publicly disclosed country studies and analytical reports. The repository also contains journal articles from 2007-2010 from he two World Bank journals WBRO and WBER.1

In creating the Open Knowledge Repository, The World Bank has provided a feature rich database of information for multiple disciplines and areas of study which is easily available for researchers from all walk of life, manny of whom may not have had access to this type or caliber of material before.

This initiative has also enabled research centers, NGOs and libraries with smaller acquisitions and material budgets to better collect for, and provide a wide and rich vein of data and scholarship to their users.

The second facet that intrigues me is the use of institutional repositories. As modern society becomes more concerned with metrics and more institutions, researchers and nations produce ever growing mounds of literature and data for various purposes, we a confronted with the question o just what are we t do with it. Many knowledge producers have turned to Institutional Repositories as a way to preserve and order this information. Some, knowledge producers have even made these repositories available to the public. In this way repositories are poised to help, as seen in this instance, revolutionize the way that information is distributed and accessed.
It is also interesting that this announcement was made so recently. The 21st Century Scholarship @Hunter College Libraries presentation series is hosting a group of speakers addressing Institutional Repositories 25 April 2012. Institutional Repositories & CUNY: Present Use & Future Promise, will feature Professor Steven Ovadia (LaGuardia Community College), Lee Hachadorian, PhD(Center for Urban Research), and Professor Maura Smale (New York City College of Technology) will all be addressing different ways institutional repositories apply the preservation, presentation and possible distribution of scholarship at CUNY.
On an institutional level, the establishment of the Open Knowledge Repository provides a great opourtunity for researchers in the Hunter College community (and beyond) to access a high level of professional information that was highly regulated before. This decision highlights the potential benefits of institutional repositories and principles of open access for a global community that is continually looking to new sources for answers for continuing challenges.

For more information about Institutional Repositories & CUNY: Present Use & Future Promise please feel free to contact me, Jonathan Cain, at

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Worldbank Opens Up

Just a very quick post.  The World bank has adopted an open access policy, created an Open Knowledge Repository, and adopted some creative commons licenses (Find out more).  This policy change helps to increase popular access to a high level of research and data for those who may not have had the resources to access it before.  This decision also illustrates the importance of digital tools such as Institutional Repositories for research and information access.  If you are interested in Institutional Repositories (IRs) Hunter College Libraries will be having a event surrounding IRs and CUNY 25 April 2011.    For more information feel free to contact me at jca0033*AT*hunter*dot*cuny*dot*edu

Cross posted at:

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Reflections on the First “21st Century Research @ Hunter College Libraries” Event

We recently concluded the inaugural event of out 21st Century Research@ Hunter College Libraries event. This event focusing on “Managing and Sharing your Digital Research”, was a remarkable success. The turnout (approximately 73% of reserved spaces were filled) and response has been remarkable and hopefully will give me the energy and drive to continue to work with my colleagues to create new, innovative and useful programming for the Library, and for the general Hunter Community.
The series itself grew out of my interest in creating and growing a project in Digital Research and Scholarly Communication. My initial efforts in generating these programs at Hunter College Libraries, led me to reach out to colleagues and to create the “Digital Research and Scholarly Communications Planning Group”. This group is working diligently to ensure that Hunter College Libraries is an active partner in the research community here at Hunter College (CUNY).

If you interested in the event but couldn’t make it check out the library blog post here:

If you did attend we would love your feedback.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet, please take a moment and take our quick evaluation survey found here:

If you want to learn more about the tools and techniques covered you can check out the research guide I created to help new users select what bibliographic management software is right for their needs here:

Also, if you want to connect with me, a planning group member or a fellow researcher/scholar who has attended a 21st Century Research @ Hunter College Libraries event you can connect to the CUNY Commons group I created here:

If you have any suggestions for future events, or just want to learn more about what we do  please feel free to leave your suggestions at the commons group, or drop me an email at jca0033 AT hunter


Jonathan Cain

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Information Resources Project

This project is the result of a initiative that a colleague and I began over a year ago.  The Information Resource Project is a early attempt to create an open digital collection development project.   The initial  idea was to create a place where anyone can post a resource that they found interesting.  At first, the intent of the project was to create a list of free, open, and credible resources that anyone, including librarians, could use to supplement the collections of libraries and information centers with smaller or non-existent budgets.  Initially I designed it as a list on a wiki which was just unmanageable.  Tatiana Bryant, of NYU’s Bobst Library, made a genius intervention, converting and expanding the document in the shape of a web form.   The change in the format has made the product more collaborative and, we hope, more universal.   Feel free to add anything that you find interesting  and useful via the link :Information Resources


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Being Involved in Learning, Even Outside the Classroom

Colleges and Universities have all recognized the need for students to master these skills as an essential part of their education.  In order to help students navigate  the cacophony of  information in the contemporary world classroom faculty have appealed to the library and vice-versa.
That is where I come in.  I see the work that we do int the classroom is critical to the preparation of students for the work they face today in the classroom, for higher level research, and in the workplace or life in general.
While all partners in education , faculty, librarians and administration all agree that these skills that are developed in the library instruction (Bibliographic Instruction) are fundamental but finding classroom time is an issue.  Librarians are usually limited to one class period to convey the skills and techniques that they have to share with students, skills that will help the student  as they continue on the academic journey.  Often times this is simply not enough time.  One recent trend in confronting this time challenge is embedded librarianship.  Often time an embedded librarian is attached to a class and may come present to a class in limited amounts but, even then some teaching/classroom faculty find  that too disruptive.  So we have and information need to be met and limited physical access, how can we meet our goal?  While I have no ultimate solution to an issue that truly needs to be a subject of a larger discussion, one that probably wont happen today, I devised a work around–go digital!
I have been working in a hybrid fashion in person for the traditional BI session, and then switching to digital support to remain a part of the research and discovery portion of the class.  The professor added me as a course builder in her class Blackboard account.  As a course builder, i have access to class documents, aside from grades, and have a space where students can be contact me and be contacted.  Students who have questions about processes software or search strategies can contact me and get answers.  If the questions are of the nature  that I feel they will be beneficial to the majority of the class, I generally formulate the anonymize question and answer in the form of a blog post.  For questions which pertain to uses software such as RefWorks, or if they need help in navigating databases I construct a screencast.    So far this semester the hybrid approach to Bibliographic Instruction has been pretty successful in meeting many of the needs of the students and faculty member I have been working with.  Hopefully, I will be able to fully develop the process to better meet the needs of students and staff at Hunter.
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Research Journal Update

It seems that the research journal  that I developed has been catching on with librarians and classroom faculty here at Hunter College.  I am pretty excited about the prospects.  By keeping it open and flexible, users have been able to to take the format and concept and tweak it to their needs.

Recently, I have been invited to talk about the item and its impact on students and learning , in a session of Tech Thursdays, here at Hunter College.  It should be a great opportunity to get feedback, and potentially additional users.  Thus far it has been used in Africana Studies, literature, Library Studies and, I think, Anthropology.  The seemingly universal nature of the documents usage has only re-ignited my interest in creating a web based interface for the document.  One that  users can keep their information in an account at track their research experiences over time.    Hopefully time, and funding will make them selves apparent soon.


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RefWorks Workshop @ Wexler Library

Just thought I would post this here as well:

Free RefWorks Workshop September 15, 2011 at 3PM–The semester is just getting started, start your research off on the right foot with RefWorks! RefWorks is a web based Citation Management tool that can help to manage and organize your research.  Use RefWorks as you search library catalogs, databases and the web to capture and import references into your own database of citations.  RefWorks will automatically format your footnotes, endnotes, and works cited using standard styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) and help you create a bibliography. RefWorks can also help you work collaboratively with features like RefShare and keep up to dates with research With RSS feeds.This introductory class is open to students, faculty and staff and you will learn to: create an account, organize books articles and media for your research, cite sources and citation style guides, and create a bibliography of works cited. Join us 3:00 PM on Thursday, September 15, 2011 Wexler Library, Room E114 to get started.Have questions? Contact Jonathan Cain, Asst. Professor/Reference & Instruction Librarian at

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Research Journal Prototype

Helping researchers improve their research  is a fundamental part of my job.  That mission can be taken on in multiple forms.  One of the ways in which I’ve approached the matter is to make a new product, this research journal prototype.

This form is a the product of two diverse inspirations.  First, the process comes from working with nursing students and the need to be able to prove the strength of their searches.   In those disciplines being able to do your search and repeat it is key.  This journal, if used effectively, may make it easier for researchers to mindfully approach their searches and reproduce those searches later and in other databases.  The second, inspiration is David Seah a blogger, designer, freelancer (check out his stuff, its pretty amazing).  He does really complex clever things with paper and excel.  His work inspired me to apply my expertise to a paper for for my patrons.

Hopefully, the journal will work for you.  Feel free to give a try and let me know what you think.



General Research Journal no limits

Creative Commons License

Research Journal by Jonathan Cain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

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